In the mesmerizing world of avifauna, parrots stand out with their vibrant colors, clever intellect, and unique charm. Among these, green parrots have a special place.
Evoking the very essence of nature, green parrots blend seamlessly into lush canopies, becoming the living jewels of the tropics. From the smallest parrotlets to the majestic macaws, these green feathered creatures make up a significant portion of the more than 393 species of parrots.
Their varied shades of green, ranging from pale lime hues to deep emeralds, reflect a fascinating spectrum of biodiversity. Some of these parrots are also popular pets, known for their sociable natures and remarkable mimicry. Let’s embark on a journey to explore some of the most notable green parrots that grace our world.
- Scientific Name: Myiopsitta monachus
- Size: 11-12 inches (29-30 cm)
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- Where Found: Native to South America; introduced populations found in North America, Europe, and Japan
Quaker Parrots, also known as Monk Parakeets, are predominantly green with a greyish breast and a hint of blue on their tail feathers. They are named for their “quaker” or “monk”-like white bibs that give them a distinctive appearance. These birds are small to medium in size and are known for their robust and hardy nature. In the wild, Quaker Parrots are unique for their nest-building habits, constructing complex multi-chambered nests with sticks. They are quite social and live in large colonies.
In captivity, these intelligent birds make excellent pets. They’re known for their ability to mimic human speech and for their playful and affectionate behavior. Despite their small size, they are excellent talkers and can learn a wide vocabulary.
Did you know? Quaker Parrots are one of the few bird species that build nests – and they don’t stop at just one. They construct elaborate colonies that can house hundreds of individuals, resembling something more akin to a bird condominium than a traditional nest!
- Scientific Name: Genus Amazona
- Size: 10-18 inches (25-46 cm), depending on the species
- Lifespan: 50-60 years, some species can live up to 80 years
- Where Found: Native to the Americas, ranging from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean
Amazon Parrots are renowned for their vivid green plumage, often highlighted with other colors, especially on their head. These parrots are medium to large-sized and have a robust build, rounded wings, and a strong, broad tail. They have a reputation for their high intelligence, social nature, and exceptional vocal abilities.
In the wild, they inhabit a variety of forested habitats, from lowland rainforests to cloud forests. They live in flocks and have a varied diet consisting of fruits, nuts, seeds, and occasionally insects.
As pets, Amazon parrots are lively and boisterous. They can learn a considerable vocabulary and are known for their clear and melodious voice. However, they require ample space and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
Did you know? Amazon Parrots are some of the best talkers in the bird world. The Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot, in particular, is known to have one of the largest vocabularies of any parrot species!
- Scientific Name: Ara militaris
- Size: 28-32 inches (70-80 cm)
- Lifespan: 50-60 years
- Where Found: Found in forests and woodlands of Central and South America
Military Macaws are large parrots known for their predominantly green plumage, contrasted with blue flight and tail feathers, and a vibrant red forehead. Their name reflects the somewhat uniform green color, akin to a military uniform.
In the wild, they prefer arid regions and can often be found in cliffs and other steep terrains. They have strong social structures, often found in pairs or small family groups, and are known for their raucous vocalizations.
As pets, they are known to be quieter than other macaws, but equally intelligent and social. They are capable of learning a number of tricks and can mimic a limited range of human speech.
Did you know? The Military Macaw’s green plumage is more than just a camouflage device – it also plays a crucial role in social interactions. Their feathers can reflect UV light, which is visible to other macaws, allowing for more complex communication than what meets the human eye!
- Scientific Name: Genus Agapornis
- Size: 5-7 inches (13-17 cm)
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Where Found: Native to Africa; introduced populations can be found in other parts of the world
Lovebirds, small and stout parrots named for their strong pair bonds, are known for their lively demeanor and vibrant coloration. While not all species are predominantly green, many, such as the Fischer’s, Yellow-collared, and Peach-faced Lovebirds, display this verdant hue prominently.
In their natural habitats, Lovebirds thrive in a variety of environments from forests to savannas, feeding on seeds, fruit, and vegetation. They exhibit complex social behaviors, often seen grooming their partners, hence their name.
As pets, Lovebirds are energetic, curious, and require social interaction. Their small size does not diminish their personality, and they’re often described as “pocket-sized parrots” for their striking coloration and dynamic character.
Did you know? Lovebirds are famous for their affectionate behavior towards their partners, which includes sitting close together and mutual preening. This strong pair bond is where their romantic name originates from!
- Scientific Name: Poicephalus senegalus
- Size: 9 inches (23 cm)
- Lifespan: 25-30 years
- Where Found: West Africa, from Senegal and the Gambia to Burkina Faso, southern Mauritania and western Niger
Senegal Parrots are charming birds primarily green in color, with enchanting silver-gray heads and vibrant V-shaped patches of yellow and orange on their chests and bellies. They inhabit a variety of woodland habitats and savannas.
These parrots are known for their calm and gentle nature. In the wild, they live in small flocks and feed on a diet of fruits, seeds, and blossoms. Senegal Parrots have a peculiar way of eating their food, often holding it in one foot while they nibble.
As pets, they’re loved for their sociability, intelligence, and playful nature. They’re also quieter than many other parrot species, making them suitable for people who live in apartments or shared housing.
Did you know? Senegal Parrots have a unique courtship display – the males perform a series of rapid head-bobbing, eye pinning, and feather fluffing to win over their prospective mates!
- Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus
- Size: 7-8 inches (18-20 cm)
- Lifespan: 5-10 years in the wild; up to 15 years in captivity
- Where Found: Native to Australia; found worldwide as pets
Budgerigars, commonly known as budgies or parakeets, are small parrots known for their cheerful disposition. Wild budgerigars have a predominantly green body with yellow heads, black-barred markings on their wings, back and nape, and a blue tail.
Budgies are native to the vast, arid landscapes of Australia, where they can be found in large, noisy flocks. They feed primarily on grass seeds but can also eat fruits and vegetables.
In captivity, budgerigars are among the most popular pet birds, thanks to their small size, easy care, and vibrant personalities. They’re capable of learning a large vocabulary and are known to mimic human speech and sounds around them.
Did you know? The budgerigar holds the record for the largest vocabulary of any bird. One budgie named “Puck” is in the Guinness Book of World Records for a vocabulary of 1,728 words!
Indian Ringneck Parakeets
- Scientific Name: Psittacula krameri
- Size: 16 inches (40 cm), including the tail
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- Where Found: Native to Asia; introduced populations found worldwide
Indian Ringneck Parakeets are elegant birds recognized by their long tail feathers and the distinctive black and rose-colored ring around the necks of mature males. Their base color is a beautiful shade of green, with hues of blue on the tail and a yellow underwing.
In their natural habitats, they are found in woodland and agricultural areas where they feed primarily on fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers.
In captivity, Indian Ringneck Parakeets are admired for their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech. They have a unique, high-pitched voice and can develop a large vocabulary over time.
Did you know? Indian Ringneck Parakeets are sexually dimorphic – only the males sport the namesake ‘ring’ around their neck, which starts to appear when they reach around two years of age!
Male Eclectus Parrots
- Scientific Name: Eclectus roratus
- Size: 17-20 inches (43-50 cm)
- Lifespan: Up to 50 years
- Where Found: Native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia, and the Maluku Islands (Moluccas)
Male Eclectus Parrots are a sight to behold, with bright emerald green plumage, a candy corn-colored beak, and blue or red splashes under their wings. Their female counterparts display a predominantly bright red and purple/blue coloration, making this species one of the most sexually dimorphic parrot species.
In the wild, Eclectus Parrots inhabit rainforests and woodlands, often seen in pairs or small groups. Their diet consists of fruits, nuts, seeds, and blossoms.
In captivity, Eclectus Parrots are known for their calm and gentle nature. They are highly intelligent, with the ability to learn a wide range of words and phrases. Their striking colors and pleasant demeanor make them popular as pets, but they require a varied diet and plenty of mental stimulation.
Did you know? The stark color difference between male and female Eclectus Parrots initially led ornithologists to believe they were two separate species!
- Scientific Name: Forpus coelestis
- Size: 4-5 inches (10-12 cm)
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- Where Found: Native to Ecuador and Peru
Pacific Parrotlets are the smallest parrot species that are commonly kept as pets. They sport a vibrant green plumage, with males having cobalt splashes on their wings. Despite their petite size, these little parrots are full of personality.
In their native range, they inhabit subtropical or tropical dry forests and heavily degraded former forests. They feed on a diet of seeds and berries.
As pets, Pacific Parrotlets are charming and intelligent. They may not have the vocal range of larger parrots, but they can learn a variety of tricks and form strong bonds with their caretakers.
Did you know? Despite their tiny size, Pacific Parrotlets are known for their bold, fearless nature. They’re often described as “pocket parrots” with “big parrot” attitudes!
- Scientific Name: Genus Loriculus
- Size: 4-6 inches (10-15 cm), depending on the species
- Lifespan: 7-10 years
- Where Found: Native to Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia, the Philippines, Borneo, Burma, the Maluku Islands, and the Nicobar Islands
Hanging Parrots, also known as Bat Parrots, are small parrots named for their unique behavior of sleeping upside down, just like bats. They have a predominantly green plumage, often highlighted with bright splashes of red, blue, or yellow, depending on the species.
In the wild, they live in forested areas, often moving in small flocks. Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, blossoms, and nectar.
Hanging Parrots are not commonly kept as pets due to their specific dietary and environmental needs. However, those who keep them value their unique behaviors and vibrant colors.
Did you know? Hanging Parrots are the only parrots that sleep upside down. This peculiar behavior gave them the nickname “Bat Parrots”!
Great Green Macaws
- Scientific Name: Ara ambiguus
- Size: 33-36 inches (85-90 cm)
- Lifespan: 60-80 years
- Where Found: Rainforests of Central and South America, from Honduras to Ecuador
Great Green Macaws, also known as Buffon’s Macaws or the Grand Military Macaw, are large, impressive parrots, primarily green, with blue lower back and rump, red lines around the eyes formed by bare skin, and a reddish forehead. They’re among the largest macaw species.
In their natural habitats, they inhabit lowland rainforests and prefer areas near rivers. They are often seen in pairs or small groups and feed on a diet of seeds, fruits, and nuts, especially the almond fruits of the Mountain Almond Tree.
As pets, Great Green Macaws are highly intelligent and capable of learning many tricks and mimicking human speech. However, they are not common as pets due to their large size, loud vocalizations, and the need for extensive care.
Did you know? Great Green Macaws are also known as “gardeners of the forest” due to their vital role in forest regeneration. They eat a variety of fruits and nuts and disperse seeds through their droppings, aiding in new plant growth!
- Scientific Name: Ara rubrogenys
- Size: 21-24 inches (55-60 cm)
- Lifespan: 50-60 years
- Where Found: Native to a small mountainous region of south-central Bolivia
Red-Fronted Macaws are predominantly green parrots with vibrant red patches on their forehead and thighs, a blue rump, and blue primary wing feathers. They’re medium-sized macaws with oversized personalities.
They inhabit arid and semi-arid regions and are usually found near cliffs and rivers. Their diet consists of various seeds, nuts, fruits, and occasionally, crops.
Red-Fronted Macaws are not common as pets due to their endangered status in the wild. However, those who keep them appreciate their intelligence, playful nature, and stunning coloration.
Did you know? Red-Fronted Macaws are one of the most endangered macaw species, with only a few hundred individuals left in the wild. Their population has declined significantly due to habitat loss and illegal capture for the pet trade.
What Makes Parrots Green?
Parrots appear green due to a unique combination of their genetic makeup and the physics of light reflection. The color of a parrot’s feather is determined by two factors: pigments and feather structure.
The pigments are biochemical substances produced by the bird’s body, and they absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others. The pigment responsible for green coloration in parrots is psittacofulvins, which is unique to parrots.
But there’s more to the story. The green color we see is also due to the structure of the feathers. Parrot feathers have a unique structural layer of cells that scatter light in a way that enhances the green color. When sunlight hits these layers, it refracts, or bends, and is then reflected back to our eyes as green light. The result is the bright, iridescent green coloration that many parrot species display.
Interestingly, while the green coloration helps parrots blend into their lush, leafy environments, it also has a social function. The exact hue can vary between individuals and may play a role in mate selection.
So, the green coloration of parrots is a fascinating interplay of biology and physics, contributing both to survival and social interactions in these incredible birds.
In conclusion, our world is blessed with a wonderful variety of green parrots, each with its unique characteristics and fascinating quirks. From the charismatic Quaker Parrots to the distinctive Red-Fronted Macaws, these avian wonders add a touch of color and liveliness to our planet.
Whether they’re in the wild, soaring over their native landscapes, or in our homes, providing companionship and amusement, green parrots captivate us with their intelligence and beauty.
Remember, though, that their vibrant coloration is not just for show. It’s a remarkable result of evolutionary biology and physics, and serves important roles in their survival and social interactions. Join us as we continue to explore the rainbow of parrot species, with each color opening a new window into the amazing world of these feathered friends.